How to start running – a beginner’s guide from Onetrack

Outdoor cross-country running in morning sunrise.Due to the measures that were implemented as part of the COVID pandemic, a lot of us were forced to take a more self-propelled approach to our fitness. Running suddenly became the nation’s number one go-to activity.

People that used to hate running were suddenly lacing up their shoes and facing their fears head on. If you have recently taken up running or are looking to. Anthony Fletcher – one of the UK’s top running coaches and founder of Onetrack run club – advises us on how to get started.

We have a lot of new runners coming to us at Onetrack and the good news is that the advice is the same for everyone: Start slow. Be consistent. Learn about your body.

Start slow

Speed is subjective but most runners should spend more time running slower. At Onetrack we use a scale of 1-10 called RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion), this helps to assess how hard you think you’re working. Most continuous efforts should be around the 3 and no higher than a 5 on that scale. We chat about our starting point a bit later but the main thing to consider is that you’re getting into running for your own reasons and you are different to every other person who is also using running. Don’t feel the pressure to pick up the pace, our bodies need time to develop and adapt, the speed will come.

Be consistent

We know life gets in the way and sometimes you don’t have the time or energy to do the session you originally planned. Rather than calling it all off, adapt. What could you do? If you planned for 40 mins could you manage 20? If you planned for 8 reps could you do 4? Physiology responds to consistent stress, if we want to get better or even maintain then we have to learn to negotiate with ourselves, even if we do not feel like exercising. Do what you feel comfortable with rather than nothing. If you do nothing, you gain nothing.

Learn about your body

Formula 1 racing drivers might not be the best mechanics, but they know how a car works and can feel how it’s performing. I feel that as drivers of our own body we should educate ourselves on how it works and responds to training. We don’t have to become a running coach, strength coach or nutritionist but we should try to learn more so that we could talk to these professionals in their language.

Where to start?

The million-dollar question, and in truth, it depends on what you feel comfortable with.

Would you prefer to put in more effort but for short durations?
Start with some interval training of a run-walk format.

Or would you prefer to take it slow and steady?
In which case how do you feel about running for 30 minutes? Begin with a 10 minute jog followed by a 2 minute fast walk and repeat three times.

Ultimately, there are many ways to start your running regime but keeping going is the most important thing. You should always walk away from a run feeling like you could do more. Be patient and the rewards will come.

Join the Onetrack virtual run club. Workouts are free but a donation is welcome.

Support your new exercise regime with nutritionally balanced meals from Balance Box.